Car Accidents and Injury Claims

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As a personal injury attorney would get calls every day from people injured in car accidents who are seeking advice on dealing with insurance companies. Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident has become much more difficult after Texas adopted “tort reform” several years ago. Actually it is the effects of tort reform combined with the lack of regulation of the claims handling practices of insurance carriers that has Texas families with insurance claims frustrated.

I’m not sure why the Texas insurance Commissioner and our Texas representatives have not taken steps to control the cost of car insurance in Texas and also address the abusive claims handling practices by insurers in the state. Many other states regulate the cost of policies very effectively by requiring the insurer to pay out a certain portion of its premiums in actual claims. This has proven to reduce the cost of insurance policies for families. Additionally, many states regulate the claims handling actions of insurance companies reaping profits within their state. In order to adequately regulate claims handling practice or has to be a penalty for abusive practices or some remedy available to the Texas family who has abused. Unfortunately for Texas families, we neither have effective rate control or effective claims handling regulation in Texas.

While it’s easy to point out the shortcomings of the process, the question remains what should one do if you are injured in a car accident. If you’re injured because of the fall of another you must take responsibility for your claim. This means take the risk possibility for getting necessary medical care and following your doctor’s advice and also being diligent in contacting insurance companies and sometimes even your own insurance company to make sure you are covered under the claim.

While dealing with insurance companies are frustrating, it is important to understand that to the insurance company claimants are simply a claim number. The adjuster you’re dealing with may have two hundred open files and is just too overworked to call you back immediately after you called them. Often, the squeaky wheel theory works in that the person who calls and follows up on her phone call is most likely to get a response. Many Texas families have found it difficult to find Austin personal injury lawyers to help them with their case unless the injuries are significant. This is mainly because many insurers are now forcing a jury trial in order to get fair compensation. The personal injury attorney must balance the amount of time they estimate the case would take against the potential recovery to determine if it would be a matter that the firm can handle profitably or not. Many Texas insurance companies have taken to using “employee” attorneys to represent their insureds and personal injury cases. This has served to keep the cost of the defense down for insurance company but has resulted in many more jury trials being necessary as a result. Forcing not only the innocent victim to endure a two or three day trial but also the insured who just wanted the case settled must now attend the trial they would prefer not to.

It is very hard to explain the consequences of the “tort reform movement” on families who are innocent victims and who are injured. What can be very clear however is that once someone has been injured in Texas and goes through the process–they conclude it is tilted in favor of the insurance company and against the family. Contact your Texas representative and let them know that you’re in favor of insurance reform for Texas.

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